Monday, July 27, 2015

Scrap Quilt Challenge Sponsor Spotlight-Studio E Fabrics

 Fabrics N Quilts Scrap Quilt Challenge
The Scrap Quilt Challenge is a few weeks underway and we already have over 70 beautiful creations in the Flickr group!

Alternative Name

Fabrics N Quilts is humbled by the support of our sponsors for the Scrap Quilt Challenge and the quilters too!

Our next Designer Spotlight block tutorial is also less than a week away!  We're excited to send you over to Rebecca's blog @ Ruby Blue Quilting Studio on Saturday for her block tutorial!

Studio E Fabrics is one of our new Challenge sponsors and a new brand of fabric we have started stocking at Fabrics N Quilts.
There are very talented collection of designers over at Studio E including Jennifer Brinley, DtK Signature, & Pepper Cory.

Pepper Cory's "Peppered Cottons" are a real treat to create with.  They are "shot cottons" in that the lengthwise thread of the weave is one color and the cross thread is a different color.  It gives the fabric dimension without the printed marble.  These are dyed then woven fabrics, so they will have more fray than working with a printed cotton.  It's not exactly homespun, but that may give you a little insight on texture and fray.  Having worked with these myself, I can tell you that the effect in the quilt is amazing.  Here is the blog post Pepper wrote when her line first debuted.  Lots of cool stuff on how this fabric is made:
You'll see more and more colors of Peppered Cottons at Fabrics N Quilts in the coming months!

Studio E also has an always-available flannel line.  It's awesome to know that a favorite print is always available.  The Cuddle Me flannels are 2 ply and super soft.
Studio E has generously donated a fat quarter bundle of 12 scrumptious flannel prints as a prize in our Scrap Quilt Challenge!  In total, there are 37 bright colors in this line - sure to cheer any winter day that requires a flannel quilt!

Studio E is a relatively new fabric company, founded in 2008.  They have grown and developed quickly into one of the premier brands of quilting fabric and since 2010 is part of the parent company that also produces Blank Quilting, Henry Glass, AE Nathan and Fabric Editions fabrics.  
We are so excited to share their story with you.  Be sure to look for these great fabrics on your next trip to your LQS or Fabrics N Quilts!  Check out our coming soon section of the website for some awesome fall & winter Studio E fabric lines and save 5%!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Getting around to those scrap HST's

The Dreaming in Fabric QAL is producing a healthy number of scrap HST's and I spent some time today squaring some up.
It's mindless busy work that sometimes a body needs. Once they are all pretty & square, I will start my plan on what to do with them.
Until then, a little eye candy!

I decided on squaring to 1.5"  Such cute little things!

If you are scrapping along with Kim & I in the QAL, don't forget to link up in either of our block posts.
We can't wait to see! We'll pin a pic to our Pinterest board!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Dreaming in Fabric Mystery QAL-Tutorial-Block 1

Dreaming in Fabric Mystery QAL
Kim from Persimon Dreams and I are hosting a summer Scrappy Mystery Quilt Along!  Join us the 15th of July, August and September for unique scrap quilt block tutorials.  
We are partnering to bring you this QAL as part of the 5th Annual Scrap Quilt Challenge!  Click the image below to see all the details on scrap block tutorials, challenge guidelines & PRIZES!
Fabrics N Quilts Scrap Quilt Challenge
For QAL details and fabric requirements, check out the earlier post here.

Go get Kim's Tutorial now too! 

On to the Tutorial!  This week we are making a 12" finished block.  In my final reveal, we will use 8 of these blocks in my design.  Below is what you need to cut and stitch for ONE block.

Spinning Star

Background  (cream) 
          (4) 2.5" squares - mark diagonal line on wrong side of squares
          (1) 5.25" square
Color 1-light (rose) 
          (2) 4.5" x 2.5" rectangles 
Color 1- dark (red) 
          (4) 4.5" x 2.5" rectangles
          (1) 2.5" square
          (1) 2 7/8" squares
Color 2 -light (bright blue) 
          (2) 4.5" x 2.5" rectangles 
Color 2- dark (dark blue) 
          (2) 4 7/8" squares
Accent-  (yellow) 
          (18) 2.5" squares - mark diagonal line on wrong side of 16 squares
          (1) 2 7/8" square - mark diagonal line on wrong side of square
Focal- (green) 
          (1) 5.25" square

{Click on any of the images to enlarge, then your browser's back button to come back to the tutorial}

Step 1: Make flying geese units:
2 rose, 4 red, 2 blue as follows.  (4.5" X 2.5" rectangles)
With rectangle right side up, place a yellow 2.5" square on the right edge, aligning 3 sides of the square & rectangle.  The marked diagonal line should point from the middle top of the rectangle to the bottom right as shown below:
Stitch directly on the line.  If you want to stitch up your scrap triangles, move over about 1/2 an inch & stitch again.  (Here's why I do this.)
Press the yellow triangle open to cover the corner.  After it's pressed up, then trim away your scrap piece.  If you've stitched the scrap triangle, cut between the 2 stitches, leaving 1/4" seam allowance for both pieces.  If you haven't, eyeball 1/4" or feel free to rotary cut to 1/4" seam allowance.
 Place square on left side of flying geese rectangle & repeat steps above.
 Your geese are now fit for flight!

Step 2:  Make HST's
With red 2 7/8" square right side up, place a yellow 2 7/8" square right side together (RST), aligning all sides of the squares.  Stitch 1/4" from each side of the drawn line.
 Cut the drawn line, press toward the red fabric.  Trim up to 2.5" squares.  This will yield 2 squares.  We will use only 1 in each block, so use the 2nd one in your next block.
Step 3: Make Quarter Square Triangles
Layer Green 5.25" square and Cream 5.25" square RST.
Cut on both diagonals

Sew 4 triangle units as shown; press seam open.
 Step 4:  Make Snow capped, blue triangle (I'm at a loss for words on this block's name)
Cut Blue 4 7/8" triangle on one diagonal
With RST, place cream 2.5" square on the right angle corner of blue triangle with drawn line in direction shown.  Stitch on line & if you desire, stitch your scrap HST too.  Cut to leave 1/4" seam allowance as in Step 1 above.
 Step 5:  Make Pinwheel
Stitch triangles from Step 3 and Step 4 together.  Make 4 squares
Sew squares in pairs.  Note direction of pieces so pinwheel forms in center; snow capped triangles are in outer corners.
Then sew pairs into block
Step 6:  Assemble Rows
Stitch, RST the top row of the block:
the HST from Step 2, Rose flying geese, Blue flying geese, yellow 2.5" square  Press seam between Geese open.  Press other two seams toward squares.
Stitch the sides of the center row:
Blue Flying Geese, Rose Flying Geese.  Press seam between Geese open.
Red Flying Geese, Red Flying Geese.  Press seam between Geese open
Stitch the bottom row of the block:
Red 2.5" square, Red Flying Geese, Red Flying Geese, Yellow 2.5" square.  Press seam between Geese open.  Press other two seams toward squares.
Step 7:  Sew Block
I like to lay my block pieces on the table so I can see just which side to stitch.
Complete center row.  Stitch sides onto pinwheel.  Press toward pinwheel.
Sew rows together.  Press seams open or toward outer rows.

Now the fun...why this crazy block design?
Here we have 4 blocks with the yellow square in the center.
Well, check out 4 together with the HST in the center.
 What about with the red square in the center of 4 blocks.

Oh, look, you could make a one block quilt with 2 alternating designs!
Now, mix my block this week with Kim's block this week & look at this magic:
4 very different quilt designs with 2 blocks and some twisting & turning.  Kim will have more combo options on her blog post today too (in her colors).

So, now it's time to link up!  You can link up here or on Kim's blog.  All link-ups will show on both our blogs, so you only have to linky once!  How awesome is that?!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Leaders and Enders-It's not just for scraps

Most quilters are familiar with the Leaders & Enders concept and apply it only to piecing scraps.  I use the concept a little differently.

Leaders & Enders are pieces you run through the machine at the beginning or ending of chain piecing.  Leaders let you get your needle on fabric before your "main pieces".  It's helpful if your machine has a habit of pulling fabric into the bobbin case.  Enders let you get your "main pieces" out from under the needle.

Some stitchers run the same fabric swatch through over & over & over again, reusing the leader/ender.  Others piece scraps for a later project.

I approach L&E in 2 ways.  I have a basket of binding trim-off triangles.  I will willy-nilly match those up & stitch them into a HST.  I don't mark & I take whatever trimmed size I get.  See yesterday's post.

But more often than not, I am stitching up 2 or 3 projects at the same time.

What I do is stage my projects at the machine.  I do all I can from the first project, then get my "ender" - the second project, and then a third.  When I am out of things to chain piece on the 3 projects, I clip off project #1 and #2 pieces and leave all of #3 at the machine (the last piece under the needle) and head to the iron.  I press & repeat the process.  Eventually one project is done & then a second.  When it is down to only one project left, I get that basket of 'trash triangles' and use those for my Enders.

Staging and planning my time at the machine is key.  Since my piecing time is limited, as is yours too, I imagine, this gives me more time enjoying the process of piecing and less time matching up scraps for Enders.

You'll see in the pic that the first stack has my HST squares already matched up & ready to sew, and the yellow squares in the second stack has the diagonal lines already marked.  These are great recliner activities (just sayin').  Those first 2 stacks are my pieces for our Dreaming in Fabric Mystery QAL & that last stack is to test a new pattern (woohoo).

See you Wednesday for the first block reveal of the QAL!
Dreaming in Fabric Mystery QAL

Saturday, July 11, 2015

A few things about how I do patchwork

Dreaming in Fabric Mystery QAL
So with the Dreaming in fabric Mystery QAL kickoff just a few days away, I thought I would give you all a heads up about how I do patchwork.  I figure it is easier to write this once & just link back to it as necessary instead of type it in every QAL post.  How I piece isn't crazy, naked or anything like that, but it may be different from how you normally see a tutorial or project completed.

I'm a self-taught quilter.  I didn't have a teacher telling me NO when I found my path in quilting.  I found my own way to get things to work out, and did my own research as I worked on projects.  I think it worked out pretty well, but some of my habits are a bit out of the ordinary, so I have found from different group-sewing days.  You may do these things too, and if so-isn't it nice to have a kindred spirit in your corner?

First, I am always thinking about the scrap I make as I finish a project.  If I cut a piece this way versus that way, which leaves me a better usable scrap?  I extra-sew pieces now so I have better scraps later.  I prefer to put the biggest hunk back in the stash that I can.  It gives me more utility later.  That said, I don't cut shapes out of my hunks.  If I need a 2.5" square, I cut 2.5" off the whole edge of the scrap I'm working with.  I don't want a jagged edge hunk.  If I only need that 1 square, I put the rest of the piece in the 2.5" bin.
I know I am more apt to use a HST than I am 2 trim off triangles.  So, I stitch that up before I trim it off.  I just skip over a half inch or so from the drawn & sewn line & eyeball a straight stitch line.  Then cut the scrap HST away leaving about 1/4" seam allowance for both pieces.
Here's a good example.  This project will yield me almost 120 scrap HST's ...instead of a bunch of trash triangles.  I didn't have to match up the HST pieces and I will just take what I get, size -wise.  I actually think I can trim these particular ones to 2.5" squares.
We will have several trim off triangles in our QAL blocks-so here's a way to get a jump start on a second quilt.  Joan Ford showed some ideas for her trim off HST's in her Scrap Quilt Challenge pieced flying geese tutorial.  Check it out here.

Second, I don't press after every seam.  Not that I am avoiding the exercise of getting up & down, but I actually think my blocks go together easier with better points when not set.  Plus there is less chance to inadvertently iron instead of press and thereby distort the fabric.  So if I am sewing rows of a block together, like a nine patch, I sew it all together then press once.  I finger press the seams in the correct direction so everything butts nicely and I get better points & a more consistent block size.  If making seams meet/butting seams is hard, it may be because you've pressed them out of shape.  Give it a whirl & see how it goes with a scrap nine patch!

Third, I mix open & closed seams in the block as I feel is necessary.  I may change my mind after trying it one way on the first block.  I don't really mind that the back is not perfectly symmetrical. I will be the only one who sees it & after it's quilted, I have no plan to call the quilt police to see if they can see my crime.

Fourth, I do not stress about missed points in scrap quilts.  It's not that the value of the fabric or my effort is lower on a scrap quilt than any other quilt, but I just think that missed point makes it like the golden-oldie quilts of yesteryear.  I've had antique quilts where points matched perfectly and were intricate in design and execution.  But the antique quilt that have been loved until the stuffing comes out-those are the quilts I want to replicate.  Make it & love it and be loved with it-that's a quilt to me.  Scrap quilts are so much harder to make than cutting by WOF.  It's the extra work, love and creativity that matters.  Not the missed point.  So when you see my missed point during the QAL, don't judge.  I saw it & chose not to fix it.  It will be fine.  I promise.

Last, I don't prewash for quilting.  I accept all the problems I may encounter in the end, but I'm just not going to do it.  The reason is simple.  It's just easier.  I cut fabric off the bolt for 90% of my projects.  It's usually flat and square & in no need of pressing.  Yes it will shrink when it's first ironed.  No, I don't iron before cutting pieces from the yardage.  And since I don't press much as I piece, the shrinkage from ironing is also not an issue.  I like the crinkle when it washes after quilting, as the back, batting and top smoosh up into one soft hug.

I am not trying to convince you to change your ways.  When it comes to quilting, the most important thing to remember is that you are doing this because you like it; it gives you pleasure.  Find your fun in quilting & do it that way.  If working in scraps seems like too much work; I get that!  Go find your fun.  If the thought of sewing unironed pieces together makes you shudder; that's ok too.  Quilting is a process that each of us enjoys on our own terms.  

The quilting matriarch in our group always reminds us, "It's your quilt, you can do whatever you want."

I nearly forgot to include this one!  I am not a 7/8" kinda gal.  If I am going to make HST's from squares, I am cutting the full inch & squaring up my pieces.  I like it.  It fits me.  It gives me freedom to miss a thread or 2 when I am stitching & still get a nice point.  
ok, that is all.
I think....

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Dreaming in Fabric Mystery QAL

Dreaming in Fabric Mystery QAL
Kim from Persimon Dreams and I are hosting a summer Scrappy Mystery Quilt Along!  Join us the 15th of July, August and September for unique scrap quilt block tutorials.  
We are partnering to bring you this QAL as part of the 5th Annual Scrap Quilt Challenge!  Click the image below to see all the details on scrap block tutorials, challenge guidelines & PRIZES!
Fabrics N Quilts Scrap Quilt Challenge

To get you started on planning your fabric for the Dreaming in Fabric Quilt Along, Kim and I are both posting today with some fabric requirements & general info for the blocks to come.

So, here's the scoop:
  • On the 15th of July-September Kim and I will EACH blog a scrappy block tutorial (for a total of 6 blocks).  The first 2 months the block is 12" (finished), the September block will be 6" finished.
  • The blocks we post on July 15th (next Wednesday) will work awesome together if you want to mix & match blocks from both me and Kim in your final quilt.  We will each show you some pictures of the 2 blocks playing together.
  • The September post will also give you setting instructions so you can combine your blocks into a quilt.  The finished quilt size will be large enough to qualify to enter in the Scrap Quilt Challenge once it has been quilted (one of the challenge rules).  If you don't finish your quilt this year, you will already be ahead of the game with an entry for next year!
  • Each month we will each host a linky party so you can show & tell your blocks.  We of course you make them both & link up with each of us.  Go ahead, brag a little on yourself.  You deserve it!
  • On November 15th, I will host a linky party for finished tops or quilts.  Fabrics N Quilts will award a $25.00 gift certificate to one of these linky quilters, at random.
Since we are using our scraps, it is hard to really get a handle on how much fabric to assemble to complete your top.  Below is an estimate of total yardage and color families if you set your quilt together as I will reveal in September.  I can't stand firm on this estimate, as I used my scraps too.  Please use it as a guideline. If you have a 2.5" scrap bin, you'll find it very handy; my designs will use squares and rectangles from your bins!  In parenthesis are the colors I used in my palette.

Background 1.5 yards (cream)
Color 1 -light 5/8 yard & dark 3/4 yard (rose/red)
Color 2 -light 3/8 yard & dark 3/4 yard (bright/dark blue)
Accent- 3/4 yard (yellow)
Focal- 3/4 yard (green)

Be sure to visit Kim's post today & see her details:

We can't wait to see your color choices!  Since I am new to the world of hosting a linky party, I thought I would give the process a whirl here.  Snap a pic of your fabrics & link it up below (let's hope this works!)

Monday, July 6, 2015

Digging and Dreaming in the Scrap Bins

Dreaming in Fabric Mystery QAL

Kim from Persimon Dreams and I are hosting a joint mystery QAL!  Be sure to pop back into our blogs this Thursday for fabric requirements & general info.  Then you can join us and start digging in your scrap bins!

2.5" squares on the bottom/3.5x6.5" rectangles on top.  Plus nice little hunks of background
If I need more hunks, I think I'm diving in here.

Hope you will join us!  Grab our button on the right for your blog!